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I am terrified of going to the dentist. Are there any anxiety reducing techniques?

There are many patients who face their dental appointment with a degree of anxiety. It comes down to a trust issues and all that goes with it. Every patient is unique, they have a different set of genes, grew up in a variety of settings and have developed different coping skills, accomplished various communication skills and has their own expectations of life. Certainly a dentist cannot effect major behavioral changes in a few minutes.

We like to see children come to the office happy, healthy and from a secure setting with no trust issues and only requiring routine dental prophylactic maintenance. The probability of a stress free visit is high, even for a 2 year old in this setting.

When coping skills are not adequate for the dental issue, we need resources like an outpatient surgery center or patients with very serious health issues may need a hospital surgery suite. Some offices are equipped to administer various levels of sedation for reasonably healthy patients and this can be a benefit for certain needs.

Nitrous oxide analgesia can be very helpful for some patients and it is conveniently reversible in a few minutes. Under sedation local anesthetics are required for pain control.

When you are concerned and anxious when visiting the dentist you need to talk to your dentist or dental hygienist about your fears and trust issues. They have heard most everything before, however, they are interested in your specific needs to better care for you. One of the greatest joys of a dental practice is to see a patient grow in confidence and trust. It is necessary to recognize that dental treatment requires teamwork and how important it is for the patient to be a team player.

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